Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Laurus of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
CHRIST IS RISEN!
"Let the heavens be glad as is meet, and let the earth rejoice; and let the whole world, visible and invisible, keep festival..."
In these Paschal days of spring, when nature is awakening from the snows of winter, these words of the Paschal canon become particularly meaningful. “Let every breath praise the Lord," God says through the mouth of King David. And “the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaimeth the work of His hands."
During these days, we sense with new strength that even inanimate, unconscious creation unceasingly offers up praise to its Creator.
But what of man, the reason-endowed crown of creation? The overwhelming majority of men have rejected their Creator, have perverted the divine gift of reason, turning it into something to advance their own glorification, and not the name of God.
We have been created to love and glorify the Lord willingly and consciously, as the Apostle Paul says: “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks" (I Thess. 5, 17-18).
Extending His great love toward us, to set aright what had been trampled underfoot, the Lord sent His only-begotten Son, Who has shown us that only through the voluntary bearing of our cross are we able to restore within ourselves the fallen image of man.
He came to adopt us, that we might become Christians, people of Christ, not only in name, but in deed, in our manner of life.
Water mingles with water, and oil with oil; and for us to become one with Christ we must become like unto Him.
And for this it is essential that we constantly uplift ourselves to Him in spirit, that we pray to Him, that we always remember Him, not only during Great Lent and Pascha, but continually.
And for this we must, from one year to the next, connect this Paschal joy to the next Paschal joy, until, by the mercy of God, we reach the eternal Pascha and enter into the never-ending joy of our Lord.
One may reduce the meaning of any given prayer of ours to the words of the Paschal canon: “Grant that we may truly partake of Thee in the never-waning day of Thy kingdom".
It is my earnest desire that the risen Lord grant this to all of us.
We greet our beloved archpastors, pastors, and our whole God-loving flock on these great and saving days of the radiant Resurrection of Christ.
Truly Christ is risen! Amen.